You simply cannot visit Ubud, Bali without dedicating a few hours to your yoga practice. We did exactly that during our stay at Om Ham Retreat and Resort. I’ve been doing various forms of yoga for over a decade. Om Ham was one of my favorite places I’ve ever practiced. The yoga shala and entire resort was a tranquil haven. Many of the guests during my stay were first-timers to yoga. The low-pressure environment and laidback Balinese teachers took their time to give each inpidual one-on-one attention. Om Ham is the perfect yoga retreat for beginners or more experienced yogis. Here are five things you’ll love about Om Ham.
From the moment I arrived, I was treated with that notorious Balinese hospitality. As I chatted with the love receptionist about my itinerary for the next few days I was served iced butterfly pea tea in my absolute favorite shade of purple. Om Ham means finding God within along with happiness and harmony. This ethos rung true throughout our entire stay at Om Ham. Don’t just take my word and photos as proof, Om Ham Retreat and Resort has an incredible 8.8 guest review score on Booking.com! I was invited to stay Superior Double Room which costs US$50 a night including a delicious breakfast for two, or for US$108 including breakfast, 90-minute yoga lesson, and 60-minute Balinese massage for two on Booking.com. Every guest room has a view of the stunning infinity pool and rice field with as well as a balcony area with outdoor seating. This is easily the best value for a yoga retreat in Bali!
Om Ham is located in a serene oasis in Junjungan village–just 20 minutes north of the hectic Ubud city center, and slightly south of Sebatu Village. With shuttle services offered throughout the day transporting guests from the resort to the city center, there isn’t even a need to rent a motorbike. But if you can drive a motorbike don’t miss your chance to rent one and roam aimlessly along the endless rice paddies and through the quaint villages of the Ubud highlands. If you can’t drive a motorbike don’t fret, Om Ham is surrounded by a rice terrace that’s lush green setting beckons to be explored.
The retreat is holistic in all approaches, it was even hand-built. When Guru Ketut Arsana decided to expand his healing yoga and massage practice at Ubud Bodyworks he set off to create a natural space and began to build Om Ham with his local friends by hand. The purpose of avoiding machinery was to make sure each aspect of Om Ham was created with love that embraced the Balinese spirit and yogic mindset of a free flow of energy and blessings. After two years the labor of love was completed and Om Ham began under the watchful eye of a massive Ganesha fountain standing centrally in the garden near the outdoor yoga space to remove boundaries for all who grace the grounds of Om Ham.
There is beauty in each and every corner of Om Ham retreat. The resort is overflowing with gardens complete with all sorts of plants and flora from papaya trees to rose bushes. In the guestroom complex, each stairwell is adorned with a statue of a Hindu god or beautiful wall hangings of soothing mantras.
The natural environment is incredibly zen and inspiring. Kingfisher swoop low over the neighboring rice terraces after a gentle morning rain shower. In the afternoon the sun shines down on the swaying palm trees and the wind transports the heavenly scent of the various blooms into the guestrooms and open-air yoga shala and restaurant. Om Ham is completely copasetic, the energy here it palatable from the incredibly kind staff to the various shrines and temples around the property grounds. Om Ham is committed to providing a space for guests to recharge and follows the yogic principles of reach, hold, and breathe. This motto is embodied in all aspects of Om Ham.
KUNDALINI TANTRA YOGA
Twice daily guests at Om Ham gather to practice Kundalini Tantra Yoga. Kundalini is a Sanskrit word for the concept of Dharma. It is a primal energy which is located coiled up like a snake at the base of the spine, known as the base chakra. As Guru Ketut Arsana explains energy is the primal life force that we must move upwards through our bodies in order to heal. Energy flows freely upward through the seven chakras, or energy centers. When this happens our state of consciousness expands, which is called Kundalini awakening. The healing asanas of Kundalini Tantra Yoga focus on the natural movement of the body paired with intentional breathing to increase and balance energy in the body. Kundalini Tantra Yoga combines Kundalini, Astanga, Hatha, and Sivananda in order to rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul. Make sure to pick up an eco-friendly cotton yoga mat before your retreat!
The morning classes are included in the various Om Ham yoga retreat packages but resort guests and visitors can drop in for a minimal fee. Classes are typically 90-minutes and start at 9 AM. Usually, these classes are held in the massive yoga shala located on the top floor of the Om Ham housing structure. The open-air yoga shala faces the rice patties making for a tranquil setting perfect for energy building and opening chakras. During my visit, most mornings started with a tropical rain during the practice which kept the room cool and smelling wonderful as the scent of the wet rice patties lingered in the air with soothing incense. Every day at 3 PM there is a free yoga practice which is typically held in the grassy courtyard in front of the Ganesha statue. Om Ham provides each guest with a yoga mat, cushion, and blocks.
On Sunday Master Ketut Arsana leads the morning practice. I was intimidated at first as I had never practiced with a Master but was quickly set at ease when he entered the shala which immediately filled with an exciting energy. Master Ketut Arsana is incredibly charming and comedic. I expected the class to be very serious but instead, the setting was casual and fun. I don’t think I’d ever laughed so much in a yoga practice! The uplifting practice focused on healing our bodies, strengthening our practices, and being confident in our abilities.
Guru Ketut Arsana was born and raised in Ubud at the Padangtegal village. He comes from a long lineage of traditional Balinese shaman healers known as Balian. He was one of the first to offer holistic yoga practice in Ubud, which is now one of the main industries in the spiritual center of Bali. He is the Guru of Ashram Munivara, a Mahatma Therapist, Master Usada Practitioner, Yoga Instructor and Founder of Ubud Bodyworks, Ashram Munivara, and Om Ham Retreat. Guests at Om Ham are welcome to visit the nearby Ashram Munivara and attend kirtan, puja, and other spiritual gatherings.
BLISSFUL BALINESE MASSAGE
I was treated to a 60-minute lymphatic Balinese massage at the in-house spa at Om Ham. The treatment began with sound healing as the therapist made the bowl sing with an expert touch. The energy hovered over my head and began the wellness experience on a beautiful note. Sound healing is truthfully one of the most relaxing things I have ever experienced, the singing bowls release a sweet hymn that eases tension and caresses the mind.
The special massage technique at Om Ham was created by Master Ketut Arsana with the purpose of healing the body. The technician combined Ayurvedic touch with Bali Usadha to ease my muscles, increase blood flow and promote overall health. Treating yourself to a healing massage is the perfect compliment to doing yoga twice daily. The work you do during your yoga practice to balance your body is increased and revitalized through a massage that focuses on nurturing the lymphatic system.
DELICIOUS HEALTHY EATS
Om Ham also has an in-house dining establishment, Tulsi Lounge. The menu is health-focused with many vegan and vegetarian options. Fusion meals are served with Indonesian and international ingredients and dishes. Tea time is held here each afternoon with some refreshments and herbal tea. Breakfast is included with all room bookings and retreat packages and can be enjoyed in the bar area on the ground floor or in the lounge setting on the second-floor terrace. Both spaces have a relaxed vibe and beautiful ambiance due to the panoramic views of the rice terraces and the gorgeous Om Ham building. My absolute favorites of the soulful food were the tempeh burger and avocado cheesecake.
INFINITY POOL WITH RICE TERRACE VIEWS
Bali has no shortage of incredible infinity pools with views of the jungle, mountains, and endless sea. But my favorite piscine to take a dip in was the gorgeous pool at Om Ham. The large pool is perfect for swimming laps and has an adjacent smaller pool for lounging that looks out over the massive field of rice. Most guests enjoy Ubud between yoga practices so the pool was mostly empty throughout the day and became my own personal oasis.
Thank you for hosting me and for this incredible experience, Om Ham Retreat! All opinions and photos are my own. This post contains affiliate links, please read the Miss Filatelista disclosure policy for more information.